17 brilliant ideas for consignment inventory reduction

This post was updated from January 2016

Make your next consignment inventory reduction sale memorable

When it’s time for your shop to change seasons, take a look at some of these inventory reduction ideas. Although you don’t want to make drastic sales a regular habit, a twice or 3 times a year clearance sale is very acceptable. I’ve put together a list of 17 brilliant ideas for consignment inventory reduction. Okay, I can say they’re brilliant because I put the list together. Pick one or two and clear out the old to bring in the new.

1.) The non-sale switcheroo 

This is your best non-sale idea for consignment inventory reduction. Try totally redesigning the look of your shop. Move racks, rounders, shelving units or anything else that will make your shop look and feel completely different. It’s amazing how just moving merchandise from one end of the shop to the other can make it more attractive to a buyer.

2.) Buy-the-Bag event

Hand out a grocery bag, laundry bag or a specially printed store bag to every customer that comes that day. Sell your merchandise at one price for the entire bag or bring in a scale and sell it by the pound.

3.) Find a new holiday 

Did you know that January 13 is Make Your Dream Come True Day or that April 7th is No Housework Day? The internet is filled with websites that list crazy, fun “holidays” that can be celebrated with a special sale or a whole event. Take one of the really crazy ones like Hoodie Hoo Day (Feb. 20th) and any shopper who comes in and says, “Hoodie Hoo” receive a special discount.

4.) A Dutch Auction 

Reduce the price of your merchandise weekly or even daily so that by the end, whatever you have left is down to the lowest possible price. I encourage you to discount deeply the first time around. If the idea is to move merchandise quickly, start the “auction” at 40 or 50% off.

5.) Preferred Customer Savings Event 

Invite only your best customers to shop the night before the regular sales event begins. Provide beverages and snacks; teach a class on furniture painting or scarf tying and offer them a deeper discount on all sale merchandise for that evening only. It’s a great way to reward faithful shoppers and take care of consignment inventory reduction.

6.) DIY idea night 

Collect a bevy of DIY ideas and offer them along with merchandise at a discount. For instance, offer DIY ideas/classes for turning a mirror into a tray; sweaters into mittens and leggings or jars into a decorative craft caddy.  There are literally hundreds of ideas to use secondhand items for upcycling. Make a night of it and help your customers see the potential.

7.) Daily deals or weekly specials

Each week from now through the end of the season, choose particular items that receive an extra discount. For instance, every sweater or lamp is an extra 25% off. This is especially good when you want to avoid the idea of a clearance sale. Getting a deal sounds much better than buying an item during an Inventory Reduction Sale.

8.) Bundle! 

Sometimes customers just can’t see the potential in putting separate items together. Showcase merchandise in a tableau creating an instantly warm and cozy feel. Whether it’s a chair, table, lamp and ottoman or a sweater, scarf, boots and hat…help your customers envision the whole not just the individual. Then offer a special deal when they purchase the entire group of items.

9.) Mystery boxes  

Use attractive boxes or baskets and put together fun surprise packages. Don’t completely fill them with all of your unwanted items though. Be sure to add vintage knick knacks, colorful scarves, fuzzy mittens or unusual serving pieces. Put together all red or pink items and make mystery Valentine’s Day baskets. With lots of paper shred for filler and a cellophane wrapper, customers can see a little of what they’re getting, but not all.

10.) A BOGO sale 

There’s no better way to double your inventory reduction than by offering a Buy One Get One Free or Buy One Get One 1/2 off Sale. It’s a great way to move particular merchandise fast. Use a BOGO sale to move slow-moving sizes, colors, overstocks and even totally unrelated items.

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11.) The bargain bin

Some customers just like to dig (I’m one of them). They like nothing more than to dig into a huge basket, tub, bin or box for the remaining items that are deeply discounted. Often, shops will have a special area in the back for sale items, but for an inventory reduction sale, make sure it’s right out front.

12.) Let the weather decide 

In seasons such as winter and summer, the weather can often be extreme. Choose a measuring point (i.e. any day below freezing, snow over 6″, sunny Sundays or windy Wednesdays) and then offer a discount accordingly. For instance, discount any item in your shop by an additional 10% for every 5 degrees below freezing. On a 20° day, customers would receive an extra 20% off.

13.) End cap contest

The end cap or space at the end of an aisle is some of the most valuable real estate in your shop. Let each of your employees take an end cap and merchandise it with items that need to move quickly. At the end of the week, see which employee’s end cap sold the most merchandise and offer the winner a prize.

14.) Special price coupons

Give your sales staff the ability to give special discounts to shoppers during a specific week. Print up coupons that say “You choose your sale price up to X amount.” Of course, the customer will choose the X price but that was the discount you were prepared to offer anyway. It provides an incentive for an immediate sale (make sure the coupon has a place for the end date) and it gives your employees a chance to build relationships with customers.

15.) 60 in 60 sale 

Advertise a 60% off for 60 minutes one day only. Clearly state the day, hour (i.e. 11 am to 12 noon) and the 60% savings in all of your marketing. Make sure you print posters for your windows too. Close the store for the morning of the sale so that a crowd potentially builds outside your store. On the hour, open the door and let the sales begin!

16.) Fishbowl discounts 

Create slips of paper with a variety of discounts on them. Let customers choose a slip of paper at the register which will determine the discount they’ll receive. Punch up the excitement by putting one slip in the fishbowl with the word FREE on it.

17.) Donating 

Donating excess inventory to a charitable organization can offer some stores certain tax benefits. If you’re not able to take advantage of the tax write-off, consider donating your items to an event that might also offer additional marketing opportunities in exchange for your merchandise. No matter what, the community goodwill that is generated from donations is always a plus.

Overall cleaning your store of outdated merchandise is a must, read 6 tips for consignment shop spring cleaning.

Need help managing your inventory? Let SimpleConsign show you how easy it can be. 

5 reasons resellers stock new merchandise

Resellers stock new merchandise for 5 reasons

You’re in the business of reselling used items. It makes good business sense to offer new merchandise too. In fact, there are several reasons to invest in new merchandise for your resale shop. Typically, items bought in bulk are literally pennies on the dollar. There are a variety of ways you can purchase affordable, unused merchandise. It can be a “buyer beware” proposition though. Many of the items being sold are “as is.” No matter how you purchase, review the entire contract. In addition, pay particular attention to their return policies. Here’s why resellers stock new merchandise.

Reason #1  Give your shop a boutique feel

Adding smaller items to your merchandise, creates a bigger impression for shoppers. Customers want to see a wide array of goods. Most importantly, your brand image improves by adding multiple pieces of the same product.

Reason #2  Increase inventory during slow periods

Resellers stock new merchandise to help create the “Target Effect.” In other words, your shoppers didn’t realize they needed an item until they noticed it next to the merchandise they’re looking for. A steady supply of new merchandise guarantees you’ll have fresh inventory on the sales floor. Add a line of chalk paint, jewelry, greeting cards or other items to your shop and you’ve automatically added built-in revenue.

Reason #3  Offer in-demand merchandise

Many of our furniture consignment customers have invested in lines of chalk paint, candles and furniture polishes. Our clothing consignment customers carry everything from scarves to sunglasses and lingerie. Children’s consignment shops often invest in a partnership with Melissa and Doug toys. Whatever is in demand in your location, find a reputable dealer and build your inventory.

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Reason #4  Tap into non-resale shoppers

Go from being known strictly as a “secondhand” shop to that “boutique around the corner.” Unfortunately, some shoppers never consider setting foot in a “used” merchandise store. However, they wander in because of that particular line of new items you now carry. Plus, many shoppers don’t want to buy used items as gifts. Often, bridesmaids or baby shower attendees feel they need to purchase a brand new gift rather than a brand new used gift.

Reason #5  Provide opportunities for local artists and designers

Becoming a unique distribution point for a local artist or designer instantly adds to the exclusivity factor of your resale shop. However, make sure the tie-in follows your branding. In other words, don’t offer homemade jellies if you’re a clothing consignment shop. A furniture shop is perfect for that local pottery maker or painter and that young new designer from college can exhibit her new textiles at your clothing store. Plus, adding Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI) reduces your overhead costs and frees up employees for other work.

Where to find new merchandise

Resellers stock new merchandise through overstocks, closeouts, liquidations, salvage and wholesale items. These companies advertise online and many of them have distribution centers all over the country. Some companies are very specific about the items they sell and others sell by random pallet only. Again, buyer beware.


When a retailer overestimates market demand, their discounted items are known as surplus. It doesn’t mean your customers won’t be interested in them. It means the market is flooded. Overstock outlets are a great place to find clearance-priced seasonal items.


Closeouts are one way for resellers to stock new merchandiseA clearance or closeout sale consists of items a retailer no longer wants to stock. In other words, these items are almost never returnable. The point is to clear out inventory.


A salvage load includes customer returns, samples and floor display merchandise. If you have the time and expertise to repair a ripped seam, sew on a button or touch up paint, this can be a cost-effective option.


Held when a store goes out of business or declares bankruptcy, liquidation sales are an excellent place for new merchandise. In addition to products for your shop, you may be able to find supplies like tagging guns, bags, tissue paper, shelves, receipt paper and more. If a local business is closing, negotiate a package deal instead of paying per item.

Liquidation Closeouts carries a variety of wholesale merchandise. Even Amazon has online bidding for returned boxed lots. TopTenWholesale offers everything from kids’ backpacks to lipstick.

The QVC Liquidation department offers customer returns, plus refurbished and closeout inventory sold by the pallet. If you purchase pallets, the company should be within easy driving distance. Believe it or not, even WalMart has a liquidation site.

In conclusion, do your homework. Thoroughly review your contract and completely understand all return policies. Check the Better Business Bureau. Buying new merchandise can ultimately bring a boost to your overall bottom line.

Resale in Japan delivers crazy fun

This post has been updated from the original in August 2014

Resale in Japan is an adventure

An article in All About Japan,  titled Tokyo Dirt-Cheap Shopping Tour, states that resale shopping in Japan may offer up some better deals than in other countries. They reason that because closets are so small in most Japanese homes (which are pretty small as well) and residents are so fashion conscious, they’re generally turning their clothes over faster.  Therefore, you can buy nearly new clothes for a fraction of the cost all the time. After a little research, I found 2 great examples of resale in Japan.

Don Don Down on Wednesday

resale in JapanDon Don Down on Wednesday (affectionately known as D-D-DoW) is a popular  resale shop with several dozen locations in Japan. This shop has one of the most unique discounting formulas I’ve seen. The price of items are marked by…fruits and vegetables. Yup, that’s right, fruits and veggies. Each item is assigned a fruit or vegetable tag that corresponds with a given price. The price drops every Wednesday thus explaining their very unique name. TokyoCheapo suggested, “it’s a fascinating The-Price-Is-Right-esque twist on the auction idea.” So, do you wait for your strawberry to become a mushroom, or do you buy now? resale in JapanThe receipts are even printed with the appropriate fruits and vegetables. It looks like you’ve been to the grocery store rather than a clothing store.

Hilarious merchandising trick

D-D-DoW uses a very clever merchandising ploy too. They turn all of their mannequins away from the shopper. One reviewer said he kept apologizing as he bumped into what he thought were people in the aisles. This is a fun way to shake up the look of your shop.

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New York Joe Exchange

Resale in Japan includes New York Joe ExchangeNew York Joe Exchange is another popular Japanese vintage shop. As you can see, their logo includes the universal recycling emblem. Plus, they’ve capitalized on the craze for all things American with their name and red, white and blue color scheme. This shop is unique because of their willingness to trade or, as we would term it, offer store credit. They buy items outright at 30% of their value or you can receive store credit for 60% of the value. New York Joe Exchange puts one very different twist on the regular trade concept. According to TokyoCheapo, the trade credit is good for that day only. You cannot carry your balance over. That’s one way to make sure your yen stays in one place.

For a thorough list of secondhand shops in Tokyo, take a look here. Or, use this list from Fashionista that comes complete with unique items they found at each store. With names like Peep Cheep, Mad Tea Party and Mouse, who wouldn’t want to shop there? One caveat a particular reviewer mentioned, “Mode-off is for 2nd hand clothes and is a treasure chest of finds…Have in your mind though, Japanese people tend to be rather slim and not too tall!!”


For a closer look at consignment shops around the world, find out more here.

4 tips to save on consignment inventory costs

Consignment inventory costs can easily eat up profits

“Open a consignment store!” they cheered. “It can’t cost you much,” they encouraged. “After all, you’re just selling someone else’s stuff,” they grinned. Yeah, right. As you know, that’s a consignment myth. Consignment inventory costs can easily push you into the red. Here are a few tips to help you manage those costs.

1.) Reduce storage costs

One of the hidden costs in inventory management is the rent or lease you pay for storage space. Even if you don’t lease out an entire warehouse, separate storage units can rent anywhere from $40 to $100 a month. Of course, the larger your merchandise is, the more you pay for storage. According to Entrepreneur, “As a rule of thumb, office and storage spaces take up 10 to 25 percent of the total floor area.” I can’t imagine using only 10% of any store for storage. Another myth exposed! Tighten up your storage space with a vertical design. Use the very top to store seasonal merchandise and decor. Create a written storage system, label the stockroom clearly and require everyone to stick to the plan. Keep lighter items (clothing, accessories, etc.) up high, off of the floor, and the heaviest items at the bottom. Make tidying a weekly chore.

2.) Use Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI)

Many consignment stores today are offering sections of their sales floor for VMI. The benefits for you and the vendor are significant. You save on administration and operating costs because the vendor is responsible for replenishing stock. Conversely, the vendor gains exposure to a whole new sales market. Your target customer is already pre-disposed to buying unique, one-of-a-kind items. Find those distinctive local jewelry makers, artists or furniture painters. Build close relationships with them so you can share the history of their products. Make sure you sign an exclusive contract. Use reports to show which items are most popular and provide real-time sales data so they’re never behind on inventory.

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3.) Standardize pricing with a Price Book

As you know, time means money. Save on consignment inventory costs by standardizing your pricing with a Price Book. SimpleConsign recently added our Simple Price Book. It lets you grade your brands; set price levels within categories; specify items you don’t accept and use reports to make adjustments as needed. You customize it based on the requirements for your store. When literally anyone can add and price inventory, the process becomes even faster. For more information about our new Simple Price Book, fill out the form at the bottom of the page!

4.) Donate items

Donate consignment items for a possible tax break from Uncle SamEvery year, my husband and I donate bags of clothing and building supplies to either Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity. I keep a very specific record of the donated items and check the valuation guides to add prices. Every little bit helps when it comes to paying Uncle Sam. The same is true for your consignment store. Only charitable organizations that are listed as 501(c)(3) organizations will qualify you for a tax deduction. Not surprisingly, the IRS offers a little information on the subject. Quickbooks also provides some advice for corporations vs. sole proprietors. A few years ago, I put together a list of organizations that would love to have your donations. Read 15 ways to donate consignment items and declutter. If you choose to proceed, make sure you’ve gathered all of the information required for tax purposes and consult with your business accountant.

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7 harsh realities of not having a consignment POS system

Your consignment POS system can make or break you

A couple of years ago, our son moved into an apartment of his own. Since he was about 700 miles away, I wasn’t able to pawn off old dishes, furniture and towels. He needed to start fresh. So, we headed to a furniture consignment store close to him. It was huge. Shoppers wandered everywhere. He found a couch and TV table. I found a great picture. At the sales counter, the young woman took out a Sales Receipt Book to total up our purchases. Unfortunately, she made a mistake. She scratched through the final price and made the corrections which we could barely read. I mentioned SimpleConsign, but the boss was “old school” and didn’t want a Point-Of-Sale system. I think that will change when his son takes over the business. Nowadays, a consignment POS system is not only convenient, it’s essential. Here are 7 reasons why.

1.) Can you guarantee accuracy?

Any shop owner that invests in a consignment POS system, printers and barcode scanners is automatically assured of accuracy at the time of sale. There are no “fat finger” mistakes. Scan the barcode on the tag and the information is immediately entered into the system. You can keep track of daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly sales knowing the figures are correct. Checkout is faster, reliable and you can even give a printed receipt. Plus, as one industry leader reminded me, your customers and consignors can rest easy knowing you’re charging the right amount.

2.) Are you able to track inventory?

A good consignment POS system will provide you with a ton of reports to track your inventory, consignors and customers. With SimpleConsign, you can easily see sales statistics, track trends and view either automated and/or customized reports. Conveniently separate new and used inventory, plus distinguish between consigned and store-owned. Use the data you receive to determine which brands are most popular and which consignors bring in the best merchandise.

Instead of writing everything by hand, invest in a consignment POS system3.) Would you like to speed up checkout?

With the advent of the internet, our world is spinning faster. Shoppers are impatient. I’ve even received a sigh of frustration for writing a check in the checkout line. If you can speed up the process, do it. A consignment POS system offers faster and more efficient transactions.

4.) Is theft something you’re currently dealing with?

It’s the sad reality of owning a business. Theft. Whether it’s employees or customers, consignment shops are particularly vulnerable to theft. Why? Without a consignment POS system, you can’t accurately track your intake process, a consignor’s individual account or a given employee’s sales. Many an employee theft has been discovered because of SimpleConsign’s system. Plus, employees who know inventory is being tracked are less likely to help themselves.

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5.) Would you like to earn money without adding customers or inventory?

The cost of doing business is higher than ever and only going to go up. With SimpleConsign, you can easily share credit card processing fees, add buyer’s or item fees, plus charge consignor access fees. You set them up and we’ll take care of the rest.

6.) Could you use a little more time?

A business owner’s productivity automatically increases with a consignment POS system. The tedious job of adding information to spread sheets is over. Even your CPA will have more time. Plus, choosing a web based system means you can access all of your information from anywhere you can access the internet. Need to be home with the kids? No problem. Taking a much-needed vacation? Log in and see what’s happening at the store. Details like knowing how much money is in the cash drawer is available to you at any given time.

7.) Are you easily marketing to your customers?

Again, the data that is available to you in a consignment POS system is invaluable. Enter a customer’s name, address, phone and email quickly. You can even add special notes about their preferences, purchases and personality quirks. Then, take that information and segment your list for more personal emails.


Once you’ve chosen a system, be sure to use it to its fullest. Otherwise, you only have a glorified cash register. Make sure you get all of the features that are important for running your store. If not, you’ll have to create work-arounds. You will also want to choose a system that is capable of growing with you. Be sure your staff is fully trained and remember, with SimpleConsign, training is on the house. Read 13 questions to ask before buying consignment software.

4 ways to clear slow-moving consignment inventory

Slow-moving consignment inventory hurts more than your bottom line

Like all of us, I love to trek through antique malls, thrift shops and consignment stores. It’s all about the hunt for hidden treasure, right? But when I enter a store numerous times and see the same merchandise at the door, I question whether there’s any treasure left. After all, if the same items sit week after week or even month after month in the same spot, no one must be shopping there anymore. Slow-moving consignment inventory hurts more than your sales numbers. If you want your shop to look fresh, busy and popular, you have to keep your merchandise moving. Here are 4 ways to clear it out.

If it won’t move out the door, move it around the room

Inventory can become stale if it sits in one place too long. Sometimes, all it takes is moving merchandise to another location for it to even be noticed. If you must keep it in the same place due to size, weight, etc., create new signage, lighting or redesign a backdrop.  Anything that brings new attention to old inventory is a must. If possible, shift slow-moving consignment inventory closer to the door for maximum exposure.

Everybody loves a “freebie”

slow-moving consignment inventory can hurt more than your bottom lineNo store wants to purposely give product away. However, if you have merchandise that simply isn’t moving, it’s time to pair it with other items. By offering a “Buy 1, Get 1 Free” deal, your sales margins will be lower, but you’ll be moving inventory. Shoppers love the idea of getting something “free” too. Bundle an older item with new merchandise to give it a fresh look. Plus, reduce the price for the package and customers will love you for the deal you gave.

It may be time for a special sale

Traditionally, most consignment stores work on a 30, 60 or 90-day pricing period. By the end of a designated time, merchandise is automatically reduced. Sometimes, particularly slow-moving consignment inventory needs special sales incentives. Be sure to randomly schedule special sales so your customers aren’t waiting to make a purchase. Read 17 brilliant ideas for inventory reduction for some fun quick sale ideas. A pop-up or flash sale is exciting, but if you don’t have a strong social media following, it will flop. Be sure you’re prepared with outdoor signage (read Consignment marketing on a tight budget for some guerrilla marketing tactics), social media posts and an email blast when the need for a special sale arises.

Let the IRS take care of you

When all else fails, it may be necessary to donate slow-moving consignment inventory. If you’ve already marked items down through your existing discount schedule and they still haven’t sold, it’s time to hand it over to a charity. By donating, you’ll not only clear your sales floor, but you’ll receive a tax deduction as well. Be sure you choose an IRS-qualified charity. The amount you can deduct can change according to how you’ve set up your business, so check with your accountant to find out what is available to you. Make sure your rules for donating are clearly stated in your consignment contract.


Curvy Girl Kate’s rocks the Traxia DIY challenge

The results are in…Curvy Girl Kate’s rocks!

About a month ago, I challenged a reader to run a winter clearance DIY party, How to host a fun DIY class for your consignment winter clearance. The idea of turning sweaters into pillows, dog beds, gloves, etc. sounded so fun. I immediately got a response. Bobbie Jo Howard from Curvy Girl Kate’s in Idaho was up for the winter clearance challenge. Needless to say, Curvy Girl Kate’s rocks!

The invitation

Bobbie Jo, a former pre-school teacher, was confident she could teach the class. After all, if you’ve taught crafts to pre-schoolers for 30 years, how difficult can it be, right? They promoted the event on Facebook as well as in the store. Their specialty would be coffee cozies and sweater pillows all made from winter-clearance sweaters.

Curvy Girl Kate's rocks the DIY party

The evening

Although the class was small, they thoroughly enjoyed the event. Traxia not only provided the idea, but we helped with the cost of snacks too.

Curvy Girl Kate's winter clearance challenge

The fruits of their labor

From sweater pillows to coffee cozies to dog toys, class participants created some great items. Curvy Girl Kate’s is truly a family business and Bobbie Jo’s daughter Kate (also a pre-school teacher) got involved too.

Curvy Girl Kate's rocks the winter clearance challenge

What about you?

What are you doing to move out winter merchandise and make room for spring? If you’re looking for an idea, take it from Curvy Girl Kate’s and host a fun DIY class. If teaching a class is not your thing, read 17 brilliant ideas for inventory reduction. While your at it, read 6 tips for consignment shop spring cleaning. There’s more to getting ready for the next season than just clearing out old merchandise.

If you’re ever in Boise, Idaho, be sure to shop at Curvy Girl Kate’s. Bobbie Jo always offers a cup of tea and a listening ear. Tell her Traxia sent you!

How to host a fun DIY class for your consignment winter clearance

Consignment winter clearance has never been this fun!

Okay, I really do want to challenge someone out there to do this. Personally, I don’t have the nerve to cut into one of my old sweaters. It’s not because they’re worth something, but because I wouldn’t have a clue what to do next. But I see all of these adorable winter sweater crafts and it got me thinking, “I’d go to your dead-of-winter-end-of-February-get-rid-of-all-those-sweaters DIY class if there was one near me.” So the challenge is on. Is anyone willing to host a winter DIY sweater-cutting party as part of your consignment winter clearance? If you do, I’d love to feature your store and the event in a special blog post! Hey, I’d even buy the snacks for the party!

The ideas are endless

  1. Sweaters into wreaths
  2.  into candle cozies
  3.  into mittens
  4.  or hats
  5. or coffee cup cozies and coffee mug coasters
  6. maybe pillow covers
  7. possibly boot toppers
  8. sweaters into leg warmers
  9. or little girl’s jumpers
  10. maybe into headbands
  11. or baby booties
  12. make wine bottle sweater gift bags
  13. even pot holders
  14. jewelry made out of sweaters
  15. and stuffed animals
  16. possibly pet beds
  17. or lamp shades
  18. and on and on

A perfect opportunity to partner up

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an exciting post (yes, I know. they’re all so exciting) titled, How consignment stores can learn from retail in 2018One of the actions retail is currently taking to hold back the Amazon wave is to partner up with other retailers. This consignment winter clearance event would be an excellent way to begin that relationship. Let’s say you’re a furniture store with lots of room, but no sweaters. Hustle over to your nearest clothing consignment shop and work a deal. Perhaps you have a truck load of sweaters to unleash scissors on, but don’t have anyone qualified to teach the class. See if another women’s consignment shop does. Go on. Working together will NOT kill your business.

The Party

Pick a chilly night or late afternoon. Make sure you have an abundance of work space so workers aren’t crowded like sardines. Charge a fee for the class that will include the sweater (or even sweatshirt, for that matter) of their choice, whatever is needed to complete the project in one sitting and a healthy dose of beverages and snacks. Make sure you have enough sharp scissors on hand for everyone to use. (I recommend putting an age limit on your classes for that very reason.) Create a cozy, well-lit area that is incredibly inviting. Include some aromatherapy and bathe the room in pine tree and cinnamon.

The Projects

As you can see from the list above, you could do some serious consignment winter clearance damage with the list of project possibilities. Be sure you pick ones that are complimentary to your business. If you’re a furniture consignment shop, make pillows, coffee mug cozies or wreaths. If you specialize in children’s wear, make stuffed animals, booties or headbands. Of course, the skies the limit for women’s and men’s clothing consignment stores. Perhaps you’d rather pick a cause and invite the community in to help you make a difference. Sweater pet beds would be a boon to your local animal shelter. Mittens would be wonderful for a homeless shelter or baby blankets for a crisis pregnancy center. If you do chose a community project let your local media know that you (and another local shop) and the community are working together to make a difference.

Here’s just a few more ideas


27 Things You Can Make With An Old Sweater!

More ideas

I’m serious about my offer

If your store is really considering hosting a DIY sweater-making-something class, I would love to feature it in a blog post. Plus, I really will purchase the snacks for your event. Just be the first shop to email me with the date and type of event you’re hosting and we’ll work out the snack details.

Email: deb@traxia.com

Happy consignment winter clearance!

5 Common Mistakes Consignment Shops Make

Updated on 4/12/2021

Do your homework to avoid these common mistakes consignment shops make

Although no obstacle is insurmountable, there are common mistakes consignment shops make that may cause your business to fail. Here are 5 of them.

#1) The most common mistake consignment shops make…choosing the wrong location

It is all about location, location, location. Knowing the demographics, like age and income of possible shoppers in your area, is key to choosing the right location. Statistics show that nearly 75% of your business will come from the residents in your store’s immediate neighborhood. Don’t choose your location based on price alone. Consider the parking and traffic patterns. Take a close look at other businesses nearby. Is there a well-known restaurant, store or gym around the corner? Look for businesses that will draw foot traffic. Read 5 steps to a successful consignment business to learn more about choosing the right location. If you find yourself in the wrong location, now is the time to make the change. Don’t wait. Go where your shoppers are.

#2) The wrong merchandise for the right market

You’ve chosen your location, but now you have to fill it with merchandise. Incorrectly managing your merchandise is one of the common mistakes consignment shops make. Too little merchandise and you look like you’re going out of business. Adding too many items to your sales floor will also hurt you. Shoppers don’t want to fight racks and hangers to view your merchandise. Poorly constructed or flawed items that make it onto the sales floor will damage your reputation. At least twice a month, review your inventory for expired products. Move items that aren’t selling to a sale area in the back. Start having a critical eye for what you will and won’t sell in your shop. Read How to manage your consignment inventory. Review your sales data and see who and what are your top sellers.

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#3) Pricing merchandise incorrectly

You know the struggle, if you price the merchandise too high, you risk losing sales. If it is too low, the business will struggle to make a profit. Generally, clothing is tagged 30 percent off the original retail value regardless if the item was worn or not. Follow basic pricing rules like ending with the number 9 (as in $9.99). Don’t make your discount schedule too difficult to understand. Shoppers tend to follow the path of least resistance when it comes to figuring out price, so make your prices as understandable as possible. Offer merchandise in a wide variety of price ranges. Then, there is something for everyone. If your merchandise is priced right, customers will have a sense of urgency to buy because they know it won’t last long. Read 4 tips for setting correct price points.

#4) Unwritten policies

It’s critical that you develop concise, yet detailed written policies for consignors and employees. Not sticking to those policies is another one of the common mistakes that consignment shops make. Determine how long an item will be on the sales floor before a price reduction. Tell your consignors when they will get paid (typically at the end of the month) and how (cash, check, store credit). Let them know what will happen if their items don’t sell. Offer an intake sheet that outlines the contract and requires a signature. Have your consignors fill it out and list every item accepted into the inventory. Every employee and consignor must clearly understand how the intake system works. Read How to tweak your consignment acceptance policy. You’ll also want to develop brochures and a FAQs section on your website listing your policies. For your employees, make sure you have a clear employee manual. State your policies on vacation and sick days, social media use and such things as shoplifting, etc.

Not counting the cost is a common mistake consignment shops make#5)  Not counting the costs

Decide immediately if your shop is a fun, enjoyable hobby or you intend to truly build a business. That decision will make a difference in how you plan. Just because you like to shop, know a good bargain when you see one and have a basement filled with stuff, doesn’t mean you’re equipped to open and run a consignment shop. It’s been suggested that a new business owner have at least 6 months of living expenses set aside ahead of time. Problems can arise, but having a safety net not only keeps you sane, it also relieves a lot of pressure. A solid business plan is essential no matter where you are in the process. Maybe it’s time to pull it out again and take another look. Read How to improve a mediocre resale business plan.

It all seems like common sense, doesn’t it? However, in the midst of making exciting decisions for a new business venture, we often lose sight of the practical aspects. It’s never too late to re-evaluate your choices though. Do a little homework and put yourself back on the right track.


For more on running a successful Consignment Store check these blogs out:

The 7 Reasons Consignment Shops Fail And How To Avoid Them

How to improve your resale shop’s inventory with 1 word, okay maybe 2

Improving your resale shop’s inventory is an ongoing mission

Are you frustrated that your resale shop’s inventory isn’t moving as quickly as you’d like? Is your “Clearance” section larger than it should be? Does your backroom literally look like someone dumped a big pile of merchandise in the middle of the floor and ran? There’s one word, well actually two, that can change all of that.

Word 1:  Planning

One word can change the state of your resale shop’s inventory…planning. A lot of consignment and buy outright shops focus strictly on acquiring. Concerned about whether they have enough inventory, they accept everything. Your shop needs a definite monthly, seasonal or even annual plan. Successful inventory management requires planning.  However, when you’re relying on others to create your inventory, how can you possibly plan?

     A. Study your market

Keep your target market always in the forefront of your inventory intake. Now’s the time to dig into all of that sales data you have available. What were your top sellers in 2017? Who were your top consignors? Use your sales data to determine the exact type and quality of items you’ll accept for the coming year.

     B. Tally merchandise requests

Regularly communicate with your entire staff about your merchandise. Salespeople should keep detailed notes on the items shoppers ask for. Tally customer requests and review them with everyone. Communication between those on the sales floor and those handling intake is essential.

     C. Plan according to your geographical location

Plan merchandise intake according to your store’s geographical location and change in seasons. Clearly state when your store begins and ends accepting items for each season. Factor in the time it takes to physically replace one season’s inventory with another.

     D. Get customer feedback

Chat regularly with customers to be sure you’re offering what they want. Pay attention to how many shoppers walk out empty handed. If a large number of potential customers leave without buying, it’s time to start asking questions. Find out what your best customers like about your store and merchandise.

Your resale shop's inventory needs planning and organizationWord 2: Organize

In a recent NARTS Facebook discussion, some consignment shops were surprised by the amount of inventory that had been coming through the door. Many store owners remarked about intake growing so rapidly, they didn’t know what to do. Should they take it all? The advice given was, yes accept it all, if you…organize. The goal is to be a place where people can “empty their closets.” Choose how you organize your merchandise wisely. Whether you arrange additional items on shelving, in clear plastic boxes or even in a separate storage unit, make sure everything is clearly marked and accessible. Resist the temptation to create “Mrs. Flinger’s Room.” (A room where you open the door and fling items in to get them out of the way.) Disorganization can bury you quickly.


Need more information on planning and organizing your resale shop’s inventory? Then, Come with me to the Twilight Zone of inventory management.